Skip to Content
maxcy orb

Improvement Practitioner Program aims to create team of efficiency experts across campus

USC’s Organizational Excellence Officer Stacey Bradley is working to create a working world where no one hears or says: “That’s just the way we’ve always done it.”

Her office will be supporting units across campus by training a team of employees to become “efficiency experts,” who can facilitate improvement opportunities within their departments.. The goal is to make the large and, sometimes unwieldy, structure of the university more responsive to customers — potential and current students, faculty, staff and the community.

The first cohort for this team will participate in the Improvement Practitioner Program that will begin in the fall and run through March 2024.

“Typically they’re going to be people who are improvement-minded within their units,” Bradley says.

The Improvement Practitioner Program is seeking applications for that first cohort, who will each bring three potential projects to the program. Those projects will have the approval and support of applicants’ department heads.

stacey bradley

"We're looking for good ideas that are supported and people who are interested in improvement." 

Stacey Bradley

“We designed the application to make sure that leadership was involved and signed off on potential projects,” Bradley says. “We wanted to confirm there was buy-in from the beginning – and we’re already hearing from improvement-focused leaders who want to build this capacity within their units.”

Projects will be one of three basic types:

  • A process that isn’t working as well as it could be for customers or employees, often indicated by frequent complaints or delays.
  • Numerous areas engaging in similar activities or services, leading to confusion among customers about where to go for what.
  • An issue that crops up over and over again that needs to be resolved systemically rather than on a case-by-case basis.

The initial cohort of practitioners will work to address one of these opportunities for improvement within their unit while they are learning improvement concepts, methods and tools.

“There will be a benefit to individual areas right away,” she says. “Over time, there will be a network across several areas on campus who could work together on significant processes that cross organizational lines.”

The first cohort will be limited to 15 people to make sure Bradley’s team of coaches have ample time to work with each participant.

“We’re a small office, so if we are limited to the high-impact, cross-functional projects that we can take on at the university level, that’s really a missed opportunity,” she says. “If we can embed people with these skills and competencies within units and really have a multiplying effect across the university, that’s pretty powerful.”

The application deadline for the Improvement Practitioner Program is Aug. 1.

Bradley stressed that applicants are not expected to have projects totally fleshed out.

“We don't expect that people are going to have perfectly defined projects on the front end,” she said. “We aren't looking for technical precision. We're looking for good ideas that are supported and people who are interested in improvement.

“It's about good ideas and leadership support for those ideas.”

Learn more

Learn more about the Improvement Practitioner Program at the Office of Organizational Excellence website.